It is always a special occasion when Rivers United and Enugu Rangers clash in a football match.
The two sides will go toe to toe from 7pm in the second game of the annual pre-season tournament of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), the Super 4.
Wednesday’s clash at the ‘Cathedral’, the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu takes even more significance as it is the first time both sides will meet since the Flying Antelopes outclassed the ‘Pride of Rivers’ 4-0 in a shockingly one-sided Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) game played on September 4.
The United technical manager, Stanley Eguma has since insisted that Wednesday’s game will not be about revenge as he is majorly concerned with putting a solid unit together ahead of the 2016/17 season.
“The main thing about this tournament is to ascertain the level of preparedness of players in the squad.
“The team that Rangers beat 4-0 is quite different from our current team.
“There are some new players in the team now, the tactics are different and the general orientation is completely different.
“The outcome of the game is really unimportant as our main focus is to see if the new players are responding to our philosophy,” Eguma told www.riversunitedfc.com.ng.
While Eguma is pretty relaxed about Wednesday’s game, only a big performance from his side will see them get any joy against an excellent Rangers side that look even more solid this term.
Trusted stalwarts like Nana Bonsu, Aguda Godwin Wanbe, Obinna Nwobodo and ‘golden boy’ Chisom Egbuchulam are still part of an extremely strong spine.
New additions have also arrived to add even more quality to a fluid Rangers machine and head coach of the Enugu club is upbeat about Wednesday’s clash against United, branding his side the ‘favourites’.
“We still have about eighty percent of players that played for us last season and I have brought in about twenty percent of new players.
“The idea is simple; continuity is vital as we will also play in the Caf Champions League this season.
“I will admit that Rangers are the favourites but I think Rivers United is stronger this season, compared to how they were last season.
“They have brought in some very good individuals and the squad can only be the stronger for it.
“It will be a beautiful football match but I tip Rangers as the favourites,” he said.
A capacity pro-Rangers crowd is expected later tonight at a frenzied ‘Cathedral’.
Wednesday’s game kicks off at 4pm with build-up on SuperSport from 6:45pm.
Head to head; Enugu Rangers vs Rivers United
Rivers United 3-1 Enugu Rangers (NPFL; Yakubu Gowon Stadium. May 1, 2016)
Enugu Rangers 4-0 Rivers United (NPFL; Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu. September 4, 2016)
NB: Live text commentary on this game will be available on the official Rivers United Twitter account @RiversUnitedFC from 6:15 pm today.